I avoided facebook for years, out of a desire to not make an exhibitionist out of myself. Switzerland changed all that, since i wanted to steal pictures.
Now that I have a facebook, I think there may have been a secondary reason for my avoidance. I didn’t want to think about how religious everyone was. I mean most religious folks aren’t usually that devout, but facebook doesn’t distinguish. On the little religious blank, you either are (one of millions of different options) or you aren’t. I proudly wrote in “atheist” on the little line, but didn’t give it too much thought. I imagine most of my friends didn’t give it much thought either when they wrote in some derivative of “christian.”
But once again, all I see is “christian,” and I usually think, “for shatner’s sake, another one?” So facebook’s binary nature is encouraging my own prejudices, and I end up judging people as fundies when they’re really moderates or apathetics. I don’t like it. I don’t like thinking less of my friends because of the set up of a stupid social networking site.
Of course some people avoid the issue all together. My best friend simply never filled in the religious blank, and although it’s been years since we’ve talked about religion, I know where he stands and he knows where I stand (I assume). It’s just not an issue between us, and on things that are issues between us, we usually have interesting conversations. We win either way, is what I’m saying.
But with most friends and facebook, I lose. I lose respect for people that I liked enough to call “friends,” over the stupidest of electronic forms that they filled out. I know its mostly a matter of prejudice with myself, but facebook isn’t helping anything by focusing attention on the issue.
It would be different if people started questioning me. “Why are you an atheist?” “Don’t you believe in god, or at least mean agnostic?” But I don’t get those questions. Everyone just accepts me and moves on (once again, I assume), but for some reason, I can’t reciprocate in kind. It’s an annoying prejudice of mine, and one that I wish I knew how to overcome. Now that I see that religious spot on everyone’s facebook page, I have to wonder, was I really avoiding facebook because I wanted to avoid exhibitionism? Or was I avoiding facing the differences in people that bother me?